- On Jealousy
- “Since the dawn of time, jealousy has been as prevalent an emotion as love.”
- “When we become consumed with the pervading idea that we lack things, we slowly become blind to what we already have, and we become ungrateful for those gifts.”
- “Nothing can ruin a relationship faster than jealousy.”
- “It’s a vicious circle, and as long as our thoughts and energy are clearly focused on what we could lose, that is exactly what will happen.”
- “Emotions are simply something we experience, but we do not have to become them.”
- Why Are We Jealous? 9 Reasons Jealousy Can Arise in Relationships
- The Male Brain On: Jealousy
- Be Mine: Dealing With Possessiveness in a Relationship
- 12 Major Signs You Have a Possessive Boyfriend / Girlfriend / Partner
- 1. You must appease their wishes all the time.
- 2. They control where you go, when, and why.
- 3. They stalk you.
- 4. They are needy and clingy.
- 5. They try to sabotage your friendships.
- 6. They don’t respect your personal boundaries.
- 7. They get extremely jealous and paranoid of “other women/men.”
- 8. They control what you wear.
- 9. They constantly message you when you’re out.
- 10. They want to be involved in all of your decision-making.
- 11. They are emotionally or psychologically manipulative.
- The Spiritual Awakening Process eBook:
- How to Handle Controlling Behavior
- Man explains why he’s not jealous when other men approach his girlfriend
- Why Do Men Get Jealous Even When They Don’t Date a Girl?
- 11 Signs Your Partner Has Unhealthy Jealousy
- 1. They Want You Alone
- 2. They Suspect The Worst Of You
- 3. They Are Too Emotionally Dependent
- 4. They Disapprove Of Your Favorite Things
- 5. They Want To Control You
- 6. They Want You To Act A Certain Way
- 7. They’re Always Around
- 8. They Have To Be In Touch Always
- 9. You Notice Stress Signs
- 10. They Watch You On Social Media
- 11. You Have To Give Detailed Accounts Of Your Whereabouts
- 7 Tips for Overcoming Jealousy in Relationships
- What does jealousy in a relationship mean?
- 1) It may sound trite, but how about you believe your partner?
- 2) Easier said than done, but stop comparing yourself to others
- 3) It might be a terrible thought, but be prepared to lose them
- 4) Don’t – just don’t – play games
- 5) Stop confusing make-believe with reality
- 6) Lengthen the leash
- 7) Use your imagination to make you feel better, not worse
- Do you think you’re driving your partner away but can’t seem to stop?
- The steps to permanently end jealous reactions are:
- Self judgment can amplify the feeling of insecurity
- How the mind creates the emotions of jealousy and anger
- Compensating for insecurity
- Controlling behavior
- Anger and punishment to control behavior
- The actual result of controlling anger
- The analysis after the incident
- Efforts to change behavior don’t seem to work
- There are other problems with this approach
- Emotion and false beliefs drive the behavior
- A Path with results
- Related Material
A few months ago, we got a request from one of our readers to delve into the topic of jealousy: “I have never seen a goop on the issue of jealousy, but I think advice on how to combat this pervasive emotion would be very relevant.” We asked Monica Berg to take on the topic.
Let’s face it, although it’s not our intention, sometimes we are most jealous of those we love… but if we realized what is at stake, we would make a conscious effort to shy away from this negative feeling. At some point in our lives we all feel jealous or envious towards other people, but it is when we start acting on those jealous feelings that it becomes unhealthy and potentially dangerous.
“Since the dawn of time, jealousy has been as prevalent an emotion as love.”
Since the dawn of time, jealousy has been as prevalent an emotion as love. It is a central and common theme in many films, fiction (Shakespeare called it the green-eyed monster), and other art forms throughout history. Biblically, jealousy is a common narrative, too. Think about Cain and Abel, the two sons of Adam. Cain killed his younger brother in a jealous rage. Perhaps not quite as romantic to talk about or express if you possess it, but it is inevitably something we all feel—to some degree—but prefer to keep silent about. When we become consumed with the pervading idea that we lack things, we slowly become blind to what we already have, and we become ungrateful for those gifts.
“When we become consumed with the pervading idea that we lack things, we slowly become blind to what we already have, and we become ungrateful for those gifts.”
Let’s stop to define jealousy, which is either resentment of someone enjoying success or advantage, or is the fear of losing something you feel is yours (rightly or wrongly) to someone else—your spouse, your best friend, etc. Ralph Hupka, Professor of Psychology at California State University says that, “Jealousy is an anticipatory emotion. It seeks to prevent loss.”
“Maybe he’ll fall in love with his bubbly receptionist and leave me,” “She’s going to lunch with her ex-boyfriend, obviously she’s still attracted to him,” “He’ll come home and tell me he wants a divorce,” “Obviously she’ll get the promotion! She is such a brown noser…” Whatever movie we have created in our heads, we will always find people or situations to support our story. What is the story you tell yourself? Do you believe that you are unlovable and soon your partner will find you out? What is at the core of your jealous feelings?
“Nothing can ruin a relationship faster than jealousy.”
No one wants a jealous partner, sibling, colleague, or friend—and nobody enjoys feeling jealous or living out his or her jealousy with bizarre and hurtful behavior. Nothing can ruin a relationship faster than jealousy. The ever-pressing question is: How can we overcome it?
Solution 1: COMMUNICATION. Be emotionally intelligent with yourself first and those that are important to you, because no one can read your mind. If you are feeling jealous, be open with yourself about your intentions. Do you feel more deserving to be in that new position at work? Do you have cause to think your partner is cheating? Have you been cheated on before? Very often we are unaware of what is going on subconsciously. It is up to you to find the root of your insecurity and then address it. Don’t hide what it is—it doesn’t have to be a deep secret that you carry.
Solution 2: TRUST. Jealousy comes out of a lack of trust; lack of trust in the process of life, in your partner, in yourself. Lack of trust breeds insecurity, which creates jealousy; we stifle these feelings because they are uncomfortable. It’s a vicious circle, and as long as our thoughts and energy are clearly focused on what we could lose, that is exactly what will happen. This is the cold hard truth about jealousy: It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.
“It’s a vicious circle, and as long as our thoughts and energy are clearly focused on what we could lose, that is exactly what will happen.”
Solution 3: TAKE ACTION. It is paramount that we prevent ourselves from fixating on what we don’t have and rather shift our perspective to the fact that our desires can and are revealing themselves through our daily actions. The big question and hard truth is, “How are we spending our days?” What we desire should be a source of inspiration, which provides us with the power, motivation, and ability to work toward and manifest (no matter how big or small).
If the green-eyed monster shows his face, remember that jealousy can be an extraordinarily powerful tool if we use it to propel ourselves to get what we most desire. Instead of being afflicted with envy, rather use this powerful energy of envy to help you work towards what will actually bring you more of what you desire and less of what you feel you lack.
“Emotions are simply something we experience, but we do not have to become them.”
Emotions are simply something we experience, but we do not have to become them. See the jealousy you feel as a signal that something in you warrants your awareness, bring it to your consciousness and use it to bring about positive change; be it in your relationships with yourself or those you hold dearest to you.
—Monica Berg is a spiritual teacher, writer and guide who specializes in assisting people as they identify and overcome life’s challenges so they can reach their greatest potential. Monica is one of the founders of Raising Malawi, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping orphans and challenged youth throughout Malawi.
Why Are We Jealous? 9 Reasons Jealousy Can Arise in Relationships
by Robert Leahy, PhD, author of The Jealousy Cure
Jealousy can easily take over our relationships, make us angry, agitated, and depressed, and hijack our emotions. Sexual jealousy can be so powerful that it can even lead people to break up their romantic relationships. So, if something can be so destructive, why do we feel jealous? Why are we the cause of our own suffering? Do we want to suffer?
No, we don’t want to suffer. But acting on our jealous feelings can lead to our suffering and to our partner’s suffering. How does it make sense?
Jealousy: Rooted in Our Evolution?
There are many factors that contribute to jealousy. One is that jealousy is adaptive from an evolutionary perspective. Two theories are relevant when explaining the cause of jealousy: the first is parental investment theory that proposes that it will not be adaptive to the survival of our genes if we expend most of our efforts to taking care of someone else’s genes. Women know without a doubt that they are the mother of their children, but men are unsure. This is what accounts for the fact that research shows that men are more jealous about sexual infidelity while women are more jealous about emotional closeness with a competitor.
The second theory that is especially relevant to jealousy between siblings and friends is the model of limited resources. Throughout evolutionary history people lived close to starvation. Thus, any competitors in the family (or friends) would compete for the limited resources available. So, jealousy is a competitive emotion that has evolved—and persists to this day.
There are other factors that contribute to greater jealousy. A second factor is a history of abandonment, loss or betrayal. For example, one man traced his jealousy to learning that his father had cheated on his mother for many years—and everyone else knew about it except him. How could he trust anyone after that? Another woman described a history of relationships with men who cheated on her—so she had an expectation of betrayal.
A third factor at play is attachment style. Fear of abandonment can often lead to more jealous feelings. In contrast, people who avoid closeness—people who value autonomy—are the least jealous, because they don’t rely on closeness and the relationship has less value to them.
A fourth factor is the investment you have in the relationship. Often, in the first few months of courtship with someone, you have less invested and you are less jealous. As the relationship develops, you become more vulnerable to jealousy, because you have more to lose. Relationships that are shorter lived, ones that are superficial or have less meaning, are ones where you will be less prone to jealousy. In fact, one woman indicated to me that she has pursued only superficial relationships because of her fear of betrayal. If the man doesn’t matter to her, the betrayal won’t matter to her.
Where Jealousy and Uncertainty in the Relationship Converge
A fifth factor is the uncertainty about the relationship. For example, long-term relationships (that have more invested) are less prone to jealousy. For example, couples have greater uncertainty with geographic distance or where one partner is involved with someone else (e.g., someone who is married). Other forms of uncertainty include differences between partners in level of commitment, differences in expectations of monogamy, and differences in values of appropriate behavior.
A sixth factor is your perception that you have no desirable alternatives for a partner if this relationship ends. You think that this relationship is essential to your happiness. If you think you have good alternatives, you are less prone to jealousy. One alternative can be a good support system—not just a good partner. If you have friends and family who you can rely on, you are less prone to the fear of losing the relationship.
See also: 5 Ways to Enhance Your Relationship—Online
Seventh, although some people claim that jealousy is a result of low self-esteem, the research on this is mixed—some studies show low self-esteem is related to more jealousy, while other studies show no relationship between the two. In fact, in my clinical practice I have found times when jealousy can sometimes be the result of high self-esteem. Your jealousy is signaling an imbalance in the relationship, and you won’t let someone treat you this way.
An eighth factor is the style of thinking that we use when we get jealous. I call this the Jealousy Hijack. Our thinking becomes focused on threat, jumps to conclusions (“My partner will leave me”), engages us in mind reading (“He is interested in her”), and discounts our positives (“Our relationship is not important”). Our unrealistic assumptions of perfect romance, complete transparency, and freedom from conflicts will contribute to rules for relationships that are often impossible for us to live up to.
A ninth factor that adds to our jealousy is how we cope with these feelings. Jealousy can lead to behaviors that make things worse. In my book The Jealousy Cure, I describe how jealous partners engage in interrogation, checking, stalking, threatening, criticizing the competition or withdrawing from their partner. These “coping” strategies often backfire—driving the partner away, threatening the relationship, and—ironically—adding to the jealousy.
Ultimately, jealousy is about the two people who are feeling connected to each other. There are techniques that partners can use to talk about jealousy, come up with a mutual plan for coping with your differences, and build trust. There are strategies you can use to avoid getting carried away by the intensity of your feelings in the moment, which then lead to ruminating and worrying about everything between you falling apart.
To learn more about how to steer away from jealousy coming between you and your partner, check out The Jealousy Cure.
Robert Leahy, PhD, is author or editor of twenty-six books, including The Jealousy Cure. He has led or been heavily involved with many national and regional cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) organizations.
The Male Brain On: Jealousy
“I was besotted with her.” Those are the words Oscar Pistorius used in court to describe the infatuation he felt toward his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, whom he shot and killed last year. Whether or not you believe the Blade Runner’s story about mistaking his darling for a burglar, he has admitted to feeling jealous and possessive of her.
Of course, most men manage to keep their jealousy in check. But plenty don’t. In fact, nearly all men experience the kind of infatuation Pistorius has admitted to under oath. “Crimes of passion are usually perpetrated by men,” says Helen Fisher, Ph.D., a biological anthropologist and author of Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love. Men are also two-and-a-half times more likely than women to commit suicide, Fisher says, adding that, emotionally, men are often the more fragile and the more volatile of the two sexes when it comes to relationships (at least in the early stages).
While there isn’t a lot of hard science on the neurology of jealousy, here’s how it may mess with a man’s brain if it builds and builds.
Day 1: First Week of Relationship
Studies show sex (or just the possibility of sex) triggers the release of testosterone, also known as the lust hormone. Testosterone floods the hypothalamus region of your man’s brain and drives his desire to reproduce. Unfortunately, T also cranks up his aggression and possessiveness in order to scare away other suitors, Fisher says. So that explains why he may pick fights with your male friends and stare down any guy within 20 feet of you. Another cause of this early aggression may have to do with surging levels of the hormone vasopressin, which some animal studies have linked to a heightened sense of territoriality among courting males, Fisher explains.
Day 27: Fourth Week of Relationship
Your man’s T levels are still elevated. And now that you’re forming a closer romantic bond, Fisher says he may be experiencing euphoric brain chemicals like dopamine (which sends his energy levels and focus through the roof) and norepinephrine (which provides an emotional high). Combined with jealousy, these hormones could lead to obsessive behavior, Fisher hypothesizes. High levels of norepinephrine may also reduce his appetite if he’s feeling jealous. Basically, he’s “a soup” of all these different brain chemicals, which could make him an unpredictable shadow of his usual self, Fisher says.
Day 85: Third Month of Relationship, and Beyond
Although there’s little research on the effects of long-term jealousy on the brain, Fisher says she wouldn’t be surprised if prolonged bouts had a stress-like effect on your man’s body and mind. Testosterone is a caustic substance, she says, and it could eventually stoke the release of anxiety hormones like cortisol, which has been linked to weight gain, depression, and other unhealthy drawbacks. Testosterone and cortisol may also be suppressing the release of the sleep-regulation hormone serotonin, research from the University of Pisa in Italy shows. As a result, your man not be getting solid sleep at night, which can contribute to emotional chaos. Persistently high levels of these hormones may crank up his immune system, elevating his inflammation levels, Fisher says. That could make him more likely to get sick, studies suggest.
On top of all that, some recent research from Israel has linked oxytocin to negative emotions like hate. Oxytocin is often called “the love hormone” because it spikes during new bonding phases between lovers. But it may throttle up emotional responses of all types-positive or negative-which may help explain an increasingly bitter attitude toward you, the study authors say.
- By Markham Heid
Maybe I’m out of touch, but my knowledge of Steve Harvey is limited to the TV sitcom “Me and the Boys”, which was briefly part of ABC’s legendary TGIF lineup. (At least it was legendary among pre-teen guys like me whose idea of a hot Friday night was ogling the babes of “Step by Step”.) But apparently Harvey is now a national phenomena with his own radio show and–naturally–a dating book entitled Act Like a Lady, Think Like Man. Erin got a copy from her sister and asked me to examine some of Harvey’s takes on how men perceive commitment. His observations are a little over the top but fundamentally true:
“A man who professes you as his own is also saying in not so many words that he’s claiming you–that you are his. Now he’s put everyone on notice… has professed out loud that ‘this one is mine and she’s not available for anything you were plotting and planning.'”
I’m not a particularly possessive or jealous guy, but that doesn’t mean I’m cool with other dudes making moves on my girl. And there’s a primal appeal to walking down the street with my arm around a beautiful woman and knowing she’s “mine”. I would hope she feels the same way about me.
“When a man truly loves you, anybody who says, does, suggests, or even thinks about doing something offensive to you stands the risk of being obliterated. Your man will destroy anything and everything in his path to make sure that whoever disrespected you pays for it. This is his nature.”
Harvey’s diction could use a few ice cubes (“obliterated”?), but when I’m hanging out with my sister and some sleaze gives her the once-over it takes every ounce of self-control to resist serving him a delicious knuckle sandwich. I’m not a big fighter, but back in college I got in a barroom tussle with a guy who was giving my then-girlfriend a hard time. I probably should have just grabbed her and left the bar, but something in me snapped and I don’t necessarily regret it.
” understands that primal need I have to make sure nothing bad happens to her. Marjorie is a pretty adventurous girl, but she’s cut out a lot of that stuff–the diving and parasailing and such–for that very reason.”
This is taking natural protectiveness a little too far. While I wouldn’t want my girl entering Russian roulette tournaments or playing Footloose-style tractor chicken for kicks, I wouldn’t restrict her from pursuing her passions and having a little fun. Besides, I don’t plan to stop bombing around the City on my bike.
Do you like it when guys get protective, or is it annoying? How much is too much? Any crazy stories to share? And do you feel possessive towards your guy?
Be Mine: Dealing With Possessiveness in a Relationship
The subject of having a possessive or controlling relationship partner may feel worlds away from the sweet sentiment behind asking someone to be your Valentine. However, many couples find there can be a slippery slope from desiring a lover to wanting to own them. When it comes to coping with feelings of jealousy or insecurity, couples can cross the line from love to possessiveness. They often intrude on each other’s boundaries and disrespect each other’s inherent independence. Think of all the secret searches through cell phones, the guilt trips when one partner goes out with friends, the outbursts when reassurance isn’t offered, or the interrogations over attractions to anyone else.
There are many subtle and not-so-subtle ways people attempt to control relationship partners as a means to calm their own emotions. Yet feeling connected to someone doesn’t mean it’s okay to act entitled or to exert power over them. In fact, attempts to exercise power over our partners actually serve to reduce and diminish our own attraction to them. When we try to control someone close to us, we limit them in ways that make them less themselves. We want our partners (and ourselves for that matter) to be fulfilled, well-rounded individuals who are fully alive. When we make our partner feel guilty for choosing to spend time with friends, for example, we actually shrink their world. We should always aim to grow each other’s worlds rather than restrict them. Otherwise, we take the air and life out of the relationship. It’s no surprise studies have shown that jealousy and surveillance behaviors we often associate with possessiveness lead to relationship dissatisfaction and destructive behavior.
So how can you stop the possessive patterns in your relationship? The first step is to understand why you engage in controlling behavior. The second step is to deal with the underlying feelings that drive you toward an unequal dynamic.
Most of us have some degree of fear and insecurity surrounding our close relationships. These feelings can spring from deeper struggles we have with trust, low self-esteem, fears of rejection, or loss or intimacy itself. These deep-seated emotions can lead to a desire to control. Instead of exploring where these feelings come from, we tend to project them onto our partner and start acting out controlling behaviors that we hope will alleviate these painful feelings.
For example, we may on some core level feel unlovable or like no one would ever choose us. This negative self-concept can lead us to act out all kinds of jealous or insecure behaviors with our partner. We may start giving them the cold shoulder in hopes they’ll show interest in our feelings. We may act victimized and wounded by any comment or action that we can construe as disregarding or rejecting. We may outright scold our partner or make rules about where they can and can’t go, what they can and can’t do. All of these behavior patterns have a lot more to do with us than our partner. And most of them have deep roots in our past.
As children, we developed strategies or defenses in an effort to protect ourselves from difficult or painful conditions. These early experiences shaped our expectations about relationships and the defenses we formed then still play out in our lives today. That is why making sense of our own past and exploring our early attachment patterns can be very helpful in understanding our feelings of possessiveness as adults. For example, if we experienced an anxious attachment pattern growing up, we may have felt a lot of uncertainty around getting our needs met and felt like we had to cling to our parents to make them take care of us – in essence, to survive. As adults, we may project these feelings onto our partner, feeling like we need to make things happen, remind them to notice us, etc. We may have a lot of anxiety about their movement, fearing rejection or abandonment. As a result, we relive the past, clinging or making efforts to control our partner, so we can feel secure.
Unfortunately, because these feelings are rooted in our history, we rarely, if ever, get the reassurance we seek from acting out our old defenses in the present. Instead, we repeat patterns from our childhood, acting on our insecurities, and often pushing our partner further away in the process. The patterns and defenses we form growing up may have been adaptive to our childhood, but they can hurt our current relationships. However, there are real steps we can take to break patterns of defensiveness and achieve an equal and trusting relationship.
1. Enhance our sense of self – If insecurity is at the root of our possessive behavior, we have to start to look at ways to bring more self-compassion into our lives. We have to take steps to overcome our inner critic and truly accept that we are worthy and okay on our own, independent of anyone. We are strong and capable. Even if our worst fears come true, and our partner does reject or betray us, we have to know that our world will not end.
2. Resist engaging in jealous, authoritative, or punishing behaviors – Actions like surveillance will only alienate our partner and drive a wedge between us. Plus, they lead us to feel bad about ourselves. No matter how anxious it makes us, we have to resist the urge to exert power over our partner. We have to ignore that inner voice telling us, “Just don’t talk to her. She needs to know she can’t just work late and expect you to be happy” or, “Let him know you won’t stand for this. He better not think he can just goof off every weekend.”
3. Accept that these feelings are from the past – Our anxiety will never ease until we deal with where it’s really coming from. Current events trigger old, primal pain. If we’re having an especially strong desire to control or possess our partner, chances are this has something to do with our history. Making sense of our story by creating a coherent narrative of our past can lead us to a great sense of self-understanding. It can help us know our triggers and feel calmer in the present. Therapy can also be a life-changing tool when it comes to understanding and overcoming these feelings.
4. Find ways to calm your anxiety – There are many methods for calming our anxiety. Mindfulness practices and breathing exercises allow us to learn to sit with our thoughts and feelings without being overpowered by them or allowing them to control our behavior.
5. Oust your inner critic – We all have a “critical inner voice” that attacks us and those close to us, often sabotaging our relationships. This critic feeds us thoughts like, “She’s probably cheating on you.” “Who would love you anyway?” “He’s just going to leave you.” This critic is often at the wheel when we experience relationship anxiety, distorting our thinking and encouraging us to engage in possessive behavior. You can read more about how to identify and stand up to your inner critic here.
6. Invest in your life – One of the most important steps we can take when dealing with possessive feelings and impulses is to focus on our own life. Ask “What lights me up? What do I like to do?” We should try to shift our attention off our partner and start thinking about all the things that we’re interested in pursuing that would enhance our sense of who we are as independent individuals.
7. Talk to your partner from an adult perspective – It can be valuable to have an open and honest conversation with our partner in which we disclose our struggle with insecurity and feelings that we need to control the situation. We can commit to trying not to act on these feelings, but let our partner know what’s going on within us, so we can feel closer to them. While any attempts to control or induce guilt may make our partner feel resentful or annoyed, an open conversation in which we don’t lay blame, but explain our personal struggle is a vulnerable act that will often allow our partner to understand us and feel for us.
When it comes to relationships, we are always better off trusting our partner and being hurt than restricting them. This is the only way we can truly know that we are loved and chosen by a free person. By enhancing our sense of self, enjoying our independence and truly appreciating the real closeness we feel with someone we love we can be self-possessed within ourselves. That way, no matter what the outcome, we benefit because we’ve acted with integrity and stayed true to ourselves, qualities that will serve us well in the long haul of any relationship.
There is a very fine line between having a protective lover and a possessive lover …
And yet many of us don’t know the difference. What separates innocent possessiveness (as seen in the first few insecure stages of love) with aggressive possessiveness? At what point do we say “enough is enough”?
When left unexplored and unresolved, possessive relationships can amount to feelings of profound unhappiness, anxiety, anger, and even physical or emotional abuse.
At first, it can seem adorable and even flattering to be on the receiving end of your partner’s intense love and devotion, but after a while it becomes smothering and even dangerous.
12 Major Signs You Have a Possessive Boyfriend / Girlfriend / Partner
Is your relationship healthy and supportive of your well-being, or unhealthy and destructive to your health and happiness? Although it can be hard to admit that you have a possessive boyfriend, girlfriend or partner, it is worth getting real about your relationship for your OWN inner peace of mind. After all, you have to live with your decisions for the rest of your life.
Here are some red flags that you should look out for:
1. You must appease their wishes all the time.
Essentially, if you don’t comply with, abide by, or fulfill what your partner asks of you, there is hell to pay in the form of nagging, demanding, threatening, and/or emotional blackmailing.
2. They control where you go, when, and why.
Whenever you want to go out, meet up with a friend or family member, or even do shopping, your partner breathes down your neck, wanting to micromanage every place you go to any person you see. Often they will discourage prolonged periods of going out and try to keep you confined to the house, typically in menacing or manipulative ways.
3. They stalk you.
Your partner keeps an eye on every little thing you do to the point of stalking you. This might include logging in to your social media accounts and checking your private messages, reading through your emails or text messages, checking your internet browser history, showing up unexpectedly while you’re out of the house, and so forth.
4. They are needy and clingy.
One key sign of a possessive boyfriend, girlfriend or partner is their tendency to remind you that “you are the center of their world” so much so that they need no other friends or social connections because they have you. While this is not always a sign of neediness or possessiveness, it is when they display anger or resentment towards your other friends, colleagues or family members.
5. They try to sabotage your friendships.
A deep and dark kind of jealousy seems to boil under the surface of your partner’s façade as they try to dissuade you from spending time with your friends, colleagues or family members. They might criticize, character-dissect, bring up old issues you’ve experienced, or even fabricate lies about those you want to spend time with, sometimes even turning you against those you care about.
6. They don’t respect your personal boundaries.
In a possessive relationship, personal space is rarely a concept that is valued. If you have a possessive boyfriend, girlfriend or partner, chances are they will impose themselves too much on your need to have time, space and objects that are exclusively “yours.”
7. They get extremely jealous and paranoid of “other women/men.”
If you talk to a man or woman, they want to know why. If you get a phone call from someone else, they want to know why. If you get a friend request from someone at work, they want to know why. If you get an email from-so-and-so, they want to know why. And god forbid that you honestly reveal any kind of attraction you have to another person! This might spell severe guilt-tripping, emotional punishment, or even violence.
8. They control what you wear.
Going out? Better make sure that you get approval from your partner! The possessive boyfriend, girlfriend or lover will always openly assess what you’re wearing to ensure that it is “appropriate” and to their standards.
9. They constantly message you when you’re out.
For some reason, your partner always seems to “check up” on you when you are out, sending you more texts and calls than usual.
10. They want to be involved in all of your decision-making.
Every decision you make – your partner wants to be there. Period. Often you will even feel pressured to do what they want to do, even if the decision has nothing to do with them.
11. They are emotionally or psychologically manipulative.
Your possessive boyfriend / girlfriend / partner has a way of diminishing your self-confidence. They might be emotionally abusive, gaslight you and make you feel as though you don’t truly know what is best for you.
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12. They say that “it’s all just love.”
All of their jealousy, all of their paranoia, all of their controlling behavior … “it’s all just love.” Your partner justifies his/her toxic behavior by pulling the “love card” on you, thus paving an easy escape route to avoid responsibility and blame. In fact, you might have bought into the “love” excuse yourself, continuing to justify your partner’s destructive behavior because you are unconsciously too scared to face reality.
How to Handle Controlling Behavior
Possessiveness and any kind of controlling behavior in relationships is a clear sign of insecurity. And where does this insecurity come from? From the fear of abandonment, rejection and powerlessness. If your partner is possessive, it is very likely that they have a great lack of self-love and self-confidence, and this is because deep down, they feel that they “need you” in order to be happy, safe, secure, and successful.
Here is how I recommend dealing with possessiveness in relationships:
- Re-establish your self-confidence and self-respect which might have been crushed or depleted in your relationship. For instance, explore self-assertiveness, how to love and take care of yourself, and if you are quiet by nature, learn how to rediscover your voice.
- Set aside an appropriate (not busy) time to talk with your partner. Open the conversation by letting them know how and why you appreciate them, and then merge into the problems you are facing with their behavior. Always talk in terms of “their behavior” not “them” as this removes unnecessary finger-pointing negativity.
- Provide specific examples of what behavior is disturbing or upsetting you, and what you would like to change.
- Be aware that your partner might get very offended, angry, dismissive, or upset. Prepare yourself for this beforehand to ensure that you keep your cool. It is vital that you keep your cool at all costs.
- Be very clear about what you want to change in the relationship, e.g. you want more equality in decision making, you would like them to stop speaking harshly about your family, etc.
- Remember, if you emotionally react (with anger, tears, shouting) the conversation is over as all valuable communication ceases once egos get involved.
- If they agree to change, help them out by drawing attention to any possessive behavior in the future and setting “time out” periods where you sit together and talk about the progress being made.
- Be patient. Possessiveness can’t be cured overnight.
- Give an ultimatum (if necessary).
If you can’t carry out these recommendations (e.g. due to domestic abuse, cultural expectations, egotism, etc.) it is best to consider ending the relationship, and build a support network for yourself.
Is Your Lover Protective or Possessive?
Being in a smothering relationship can be really hard and stressful. Remove some of that stress and burden by sharing your problems and proposed solutions below. And if you have any advice … please feel free to lend a helping hand!
Man explains why he’s not jealous when other men approach his girlfriend
Relationships aren’t the easiest social constructs to navigate. They’re made especially difficult when insecurities are involved, but this man doesn’t worry about insecurity because when it comes to other men approaching his girlfriend, he doesn’t get jealous.
In a video posted by his girlfriend on Twitter, the man explained that he doesn’t worry about losing her to other men because he knows they can’t support her like he does.
“I don’t get jealous because I know that if another man is trying to holla at you, he’s just practising. I know that I not only uplift you financially, but mentally as well. I uplift you spiritually, I’ve made you a business owner, I make your dreams come true – I’m your own personal genie,” the man says while his girlfriend blushes.
READ MORE: Jealous boyfriend gets 18 years
“I take the trash out, I cook, I clean, I make sure the children are good and I make sure you’re good; mentally, spiritually and physically. I have no reason to be jealous, men who get jealous are men who know they’re not handling their business like they should. So, even though I see other dudes checking for you, I don’t get jealous. They don’t want to handle you; they want to play with you. I came to make you a queen, I came to put you on a throne, I came to uplift you. I came to listen to your goals, I came to manifest your dreams,” he tells her.
“I love you like I love myself, so me being insecure . . . that’s crazy. Men that handle their business don’t get jealous, boys get jealous. Boys think everything is about money, sex and clothes. I understand that it’s about building a strong foundation with a woman that’s trying to grow and that’s trying to elevate her children,” he told his blushing partner.
So I saw this video on Facebook & I’m overwhelmed with positive vibrations listening to what he says. My eyes filled with joy seeing her reactions. That’s the frequency I need? pic.twitter.com/mJJFxj9a0X
— ?????????? (@Oohlala_____) November 24, 2019
Even though most tweeps found this man’s words sweet, some were not impressed with his choice of words – saying he sounds possessive and controlling.
“Am I the only one that gets narcissist vibes from this video? I’ve been here, hearing all the good, being reminded of allllll that is done for me etc. Ppl like this are usually the most manipulative lovers, anywho I’ll move along”
Am I the only one that gets narcissist vibes from this video? I’ve been here, hearing all the good, being reminded of allllll that is done for me etc. Ppl like this are usually the most manipulative lovers?????? anywho I’ll move along
— mama mila?? (@mamamilaa) November 25, 2019
“This man had BARS he said “they don’t wanna handle you they wanna play with you” where are you goin after that? Lmaoo”
This man had BARS he said “they don’t wanna handle you they wanna play with you” where are you goin after that? Lmaoo
— BagBoyWes?? (@JerseySwagWes03) November 25, 2019
“Okay for real, at first I was like awe but his words sounded REAL possessive. “I made you into a business owner, I make your dreams come true” made me toot my nose up. That’s not something I personally wanna hear.”
Okay for real, at first I was like awe but his words sounded REAL possessive. “I made you into a business owner, I make your dreams come true” made me toot my nose up. That’s not something I personally wanna hear.
— no. (@thenameis_mari) November 25, 2019
“Everything sounded good except When he said ‘I’ve made you a business owner , I made all your dreams come true’….”
Everything sounded good except When he said ‘I’ve made you a business owner , I made all your dreams come true’…. pic.twitter.com/EH1g0lqazk
— BeHappy (@oh_sumy) November 25, 2019
“This sounded nice until I read the comments.”
This sounded nice until I read the comments.
— J (@justjayyy_) November 25, 2019
Why Do Men Get Jealous Even When They Don’t Date a Girl?
“There’s nothing serious between us, but I’m still pissed when she hangs around with other guys,” doesn’t it sound a bit confusing to you? If some girl would read this, she would probably ask, “What’s your problem?” But the thing is that no matter what kind of a relationship you’re in with her now, there will still be a place for jealousy. You can say that it’s a men’s curse to be jealous of women even if they never commit to them, but there’s a way out. You just need to know what lies behind this feeling and why you can’t get rid of it.
The nature of men’s jealousy: a deep insight
For all of us, the word “jealousy” has a different meaning. In any relationship, there’s a place for such a feeling as jealousy. It’s a feeling, not an emotion. It usually appears if a person means a lot to you and you’re afraid of losing her. The only problem is that getting rid of this feeling is a very difficult task. So, why do men get jealous?
Reasons for jealousy
Love. First, it’s worth saying that jealousy has nothing to do with how much you love someone. Jealousy means mistrust, or simply, the owner’s instinct. It’s obvious that any person expects complete devotion and loyalty from his or her partner, even the potential one. But still, every person, whether male or female, is afraid of losing someone dear to them. And that’s where jealousy appears. If this feeling is a kind of the owner’s instinct, then it’s pretty far from love. Jealous men believe that their potential partner belongs only to them, so they start getting mad if this partner suddenly begins to show interest in someone else. It’s necessary to get rid of this instinct once it develops because it’s impossible to build stable and healthy relationships based on jealousy.
Self-doubt. This trait is also one of the causes of jealousy in men. A morally strong person will never come down to a small quarrel, motivating his anger with the questions like “why is he staring at you?” For a confident person, his partner will always be his object of pride and adoration. And when you’re proud of your girlfriend being always near you, your self-confidence will only get stronger over time. It always feels great to realize that you have someone to support you in the darkest hour. But be prepared for your partner expecting the same from you. Insecure people doubt absolutely everything and everyone. They don’t trust anyone. No matter how hard you try to please such a person, you’ll never do it. Sooner or later, this person will find a new reason for being jealous. Unfortunately, such people don’t even need an excuse for that. If it’s your case, you need to do something ASAP. Men and jealousy can’t coexist without problems.
Fear of loneliness. This reason is the result of self-doubt. A man with such fear is afraid not to lose his loved one but to be left alone again. Such people need someone to constantly remind them that they are loved and desired. The only plus of this problem is that it’s fairly easy to overcome jealousy based on the fear of loneliness. A few words like “I need you,” “I can’t live without you”, “I love you,” should be enough. Once these words are said, jealousy in men usually starts to disappear.
Anxiety. Often, men get jealous of their loved ones simply because they worry about them too much. It’s impossible to stay in touch with your partner every second and know who’s next to her at this moment. And this can drive you mad. You can’t protect your partner every minute of your life and lend her a helping hand if something happens. This is one of the most common causes of jealousy in men. You’re trying to protect a person who is dear to you from all the hazards of this world, often not realizing that this person is an integral, independent personality that’s quite capable of coping with her problems on her own.
Self-defense. Let’s imagine that your partner has cheated on you. And once you find out about this, you realize that she’s not the only one who can do this, and you’re a potential cheater, too. By being jealous of your partner, you’re trying to get rid of the thought that you yourself are capable of betraying your loved one.
How to cure jealousy
Jealousy affects not only those who become the object of it but those who feel jealous, too. It spoils the relationship because this feeling means that you doubt the person you love. At some point, such doubts will destroy the relationship completely, leading both partners to a breakup. That’s why you shouldn’t ignore this problem. Fight it until this jealousy becomes pathological. But how to cure it? There are several steps to take.
Boost your self-esteem. The basis of self-esteem is formed by parents in early childhood. But the level of self-esteem can fall sharply when you get older because of certain situations that cause severe psychological trauma. Soon, low self-esteem turns into a pathological jealousy in men.
Learn to criticize yourself. Don’t overdo with self-criticism. You’re not a dollar, and you can’t make everyone like you. Don’t compare yourself to other people because you may not like what can come out of it.
Watch yourself. Taking good care of your appearance, you can boost your self-confidence. Do something with your haircut, update your wardrobe from time to time, and stop eating junk food.
Analyze your own emotions. To understand the emotions you’re experiencing, don’t lie to yourself and be honest with yourself. Determine how everything that happens in your life affects you, what causes positive emotions, and what cause the negative ones. Try to avoid situations that cause negative emotions.
The sooner you deal with jealousy, the better. It’s hard to cope with men behaving badly, and jealousy is the main thing that pushes men to that behavior.
Why you get jealous even if you don’t date her
The answer to this question depends on how long you know the girl and what kind of a person you are. But usually, it all comes down to these three main reasons. Here’s why people get jealous of someone they shouldn’t care about.
You like her
Why do people get jealous? It’s all about the feelings. If you’re really into this girl, you can get mad even if she starts talking with some other guy. This happens because men think that their potential competitors steal all the attention from them. In this case, the feeling of jealousy is also partially caused by your desire to protect the girl. If it’s so, you won’t get rid of this desire, as it’s stuck on a subconscious level. And it doesn’t matter whether she is your girlfriend or not; this feeling translates to all people you care for. If you don’t have a partner at this moment, then you have no one to protect, so you begin looking for a girl to fill this void. Well, who can blame you for being a bit jealous when you put so much time and effort into that girl, right? So it’s no wonder why you get so territorial when some other guy tries to take your place. Since she’s probably the only one you treat so seriously, you simply don’t want to let other guys on your territory. This means that you don’t want to be friends with the girl. You want to make things between you more serious.
But there’s even more to it: you may be the type of a guy, who doesn’t want to waste time on dating, starting the relationship right away. That’s the reason why you may get even angrier if someone starts a conversation with the girl you like. But why are men jealous of girls they have no tender feelings for? There’s one reason.
You’re too shy
Before asking “why am I so jealous?” ask yourself if you feel comfortable when dealing with girls. The thing is that the feeling of jealousy can come from shyness. It’s a bit complicated. You see, if you’re shy, you automatically put more effort in the relationship with the girl you like. Some guys get so affected by shyness that they carefully choose every word they say to a girl, making sure that they present themselves in the best way possible. They do everything not to let her notice that they feel nervous in her presence. They feel like they need to be better than others when a girl is around. Sometimes, shy guys spend hours thinking about what to say to her next time they meet. There should be no flaws, no mistakes. And then some other dude shows up and steals all the girl’s attention without even trying to do so. No wonder why a shy competitor gets jealous. He wasted so much time making everything look perfect, and now all his effort is pointless.
So, those of you, girls, who read this and ask yourself “why do guys get jealous when you’re not dating them?” take a closer look at men you hang around with. One of them may be struggling to win your attention.
You want her to be your girlfriend
“Why do I get jealous of her? She’s not my girlfriend, anyway.” There’s only one reason why you keep catching yourself thinking about that: you want this girl to be yours. You’re not so close at this moment, but on a subconscious level, you already see her as your partner. And you believe that this can happen, so you begin treating her like all boyfriends do, including such an annoying detail as jealousy. Maybe you already have some plans on what to do together when you officially become a couple. Why do men get jealous? In this case, everything is as simple as can be: they see their “girlfriend” in someone else’s company, and they don’t know how close this guy is to her. She can be so close to him that the jealous dude may not have a chance. Would you like some stranger taking your place and ruining your dream? Definitely not!
There are two ways to stop being jealous: you can either start a relationship with the girl or cut all contacts with her. And here’s one thing you should remember: if you made it clear that all you want is to be friends with her, you no longer have the right to express your jealousy in any way. Being a “friend,” she’s free to date anyone she likes, and she doesn’t owe you anything. The question “why do men get jealous?” is finally answered.
Instead of trying to draw the girl’s attention to you with jealousy and all the negativity it brings, try to change your own attitude towards her. If you’re jealous, then in two cases out of three, you have feelings for her. Maybe it’s time to take your relationship to a new stage? If this option doesn’t appeal to you, it’s better to leave the girl alone. If you don’t do either of these, you’ll just continue to poison both yours and the girl’s life.
Jealousy is not the best feeling. It’s capable of killing the love and all the positive emotions in the relationship. Fight your jealousy, and love won’t go anywhere from you.
11 Signs Your Partner Has Unhealthy Jealousy
Jealousy can pretty much be the worst, and I feel like there’s no such thing as good jealousy or bad jealousy — if it’s jealousy, it’s not awesome. That being said, there are certain signs that your partner has unhealthy jealousy, and this type of jealousy can really corrode the very fabric of your relationship and make everything just totally suck in your daily life.
You shouldn’t be doing things to spark jealous feelings in your partner, and they should trust you enough that they shouldn’t get upset if your phone dies and they don’t know where you are, or if you spend the day with someone they don’t know very well. But jealousy does happen, and unhealthy jealousy is a very real thing.
“We all experience jealousy at some point; the key to keeping things healthy is being able to identify the feeling and not allow it to control behavior,” marriage and family therapist and relationship expert Esther Boykin tells Bustle.
I asked a gaggle of dating, love, and relationship experts how to tell if your partner has unhealthy jealousy, and they shared these very clear and present signs of such suspicious actions or behaviors, from being emotionally dependent to wanting you to act a certain way, that you can be on the lookout for in your own relationship. Hopefully you don’t find anything of the sort, but now you know what to look out for.
1. They Want You Alone
“It can feel romantic and passionate when your partner wants to spend every waking moment alone with you, especially when love is new, but that kind of intense isolation is often a red flag,” Boykin says. “Unhealthy jealousy rarely looks unhealthy in the beginning; it often looks loving, passionate and exciting — they can’t get enough of you, they love you so much that they just want you all to themselves,” she says. Though this may feel sweet initially, it is not cute long-term.
They might make sweeping statements that are thinly veiled statements of jealousy. “They don’t think anyone else can appreciate you the way they do, or you’re so amazing that they believe everyone loves you as much as they do and can’t bear to share you,” Boykin says. “These kinds of statements can sound grand, and flattering even, but the underlying insecurity and attempt to control are not the foundation of a lasting love affair.”
Jealousy of this kind can’t be part of a lasting relationship. “Missing you and wanting more time is OK; insisting that you spend all your time with them is not. Unhealthy jealousy can spin out of control into emotionally abusive relationships with only very subtle warnings along the way,” Boykin says. Pay attention, and if you see something — like jealousy — say something.
2. They Suspect The Worst Of You
“When they suspect you and everyone around you of having the worst of intentions,” psychologist Nikki Martinez tells Bustle. This can look lots of different ways, but automatically assuming you’re in the wrong is the theme here. “They look through your phone, they check up on you while you are out — ruining your evening — and they question you in a manner that is clear that it is not in the spirit of interest, but rather information gathering.” It’s great to have a mate who wants to know about your night because they care. Not so for the partner who needs to know every detail about your night because they don’t trust you.
3. They Are Too Emotionally Dependent
“The sign which could reveal extreme jealousy is emotional dependency,” Salama Marine, psychologist and online dating expert for dating website EliteSingles, tells Bustle. In this case, emotional dependency means that one of the partners wants to keep the other for themselves, she says. “Even if he or she is unhappy in the relationship, they feel that it’s too risky for them to be alone, and they are afraid of the unknown,” Marine says.
If this is happening, your partner can act all kinds of jealous. “This causes different behavior: classic behavior such as being jealous or having to constantly need reassurance; but also believing that your value depends on the presence and the look of your partner; a lack of self-confidence and being ready to accept the unacceptable.” Obviously, this is a situation that benefits no one, and should be identified immediately.
4. They Disapprove Of Your Favorite Things
“Obviously isolation from others who may be a sexual threat , but also the idea that people, places and things in general are something that they disapprove of” can be a sign too, zen psychotherapist and neuromarketing strategist Michele Paiva tells Bustle. “If you decide you love opera and your partner decides to start mocking operas, well, that is a form of jealousy,” she says. “It is highly threatening to them in some way if they do not have the hobby and you are learning more or being happy without them; and if they have the hobby, they may see you as competition.” Either way, it’s a bad scene. “Not allowing you to be true to yourself, and your growth, is an inherently dysfunctional form of jealousy,” Paiva says.
5. They Want To Control You
Straight up, you know your partner is unhealthily jealous when they try to control your life, psychologist, image consultant and dating expert Dr. Jennifer Rhodes tells Bustle. “Jealousy can cause people to behave in a scary and controlling manner.” Whatever the behavior may be, it’s not acceptable if it’s done out of jealousy. “If he or she is checking your phone, accusing you of cheating or flirting, or is demanding to know your whereabouts, it is time to have a serious conversation about what is really going on,” Rhodes says. You may be able to nip it in the bud if you address it right away.
6. They Want You To Act A Certain Way
“Your relationship partner crosses the line into unhealthy jealousy when they start making demands regarding your behavior,” certified relationship coach Rosalind Sedacca tells Bustle. “Is your partner expecting you to do or not do certain things according to their desires?” If so, this cannot go on. “Do they feel justified in controlling your actions?” she continues. “Are you afraid to confront your partner about these demands for fear of conflict or physical response?” A yes to any of these questions means you’re in unhealthy territory. “When you don’t feel respected in your relationship for the choices you make and actions you take, it’s time to move on and take back your life and autonomy,” she says. For real!
7. They’re Always Around
“One sure sign that your partner has gone over-the-top with the whole jealousy thing is that he or she starts sticking to you like glue, even refusing to do things that he or she really wants to do, just to keep an eye on you,” relationship coach and psychic medium Cindi Sansone-Braff, author of Why Good People Can’t Leave Bad Relationships , tells Bustle. “Don’t ignore this really big red jealousy flag: Suddenly your partner stops doing things that he or she really used to love to do, because the anxiety level about leaving you unattended is astronomical.” Though it may feel good to have your boo overly interested in your life at first, be careful if this interest heads over to dangerous territory.
8. They Have To Be In Touch Always
“When your partner freaks out because you’re out without , and can’t reach you, got an unhealthy streak of jealousy,” New York–based relationship expert and author April Masini tells Bustle. “When blame you for not checking in with , not picking up your phone when call and basically insinuate you’re cheating on because you’re out without , not acting in a healthy way.” You have to be able to live your life. “Wanting you to be is one thing — but not wanting you to have freedom, or your own life, is jealousy that is not healthy.”
9. You Notice Stress Signs
“Tension in one’s body is an unmistakable sign of stress when seen in certain situations,” dating expert Noah Van Hochman tells Bustle. “Does your partner’s face tighten or clench their teeth or fists up whenever you speak to someone else when they are not close by? Do they stare at you while supposedly having a discussion with someone else? These are signs of an unhealthy jealousy.” It’s not always a done deal, but these combined with other things really can cause serious issues.
“Now, these indications by themselves are not a 100 percent indicator, but if combined with several other more obvious signals that this person is overly jealous, such as listening in on phone conversations or demanding to know your whereabouts all of the time, then this damaging jealousy could turn into something more sinister and dangerous,” he says. Indeed. If you’re experiencing this, get help. “Perhaps you need to rethink your relationship with that person, or at the very least let a close friend in on the situation,” he says. And do it without delay!
10. They Watch You On Social Media
“If your partner is keeping tabs on your social media activity — namely who you follow, friend, like, or comment on, chances are there are some jealousy issues,” life coach Kali Rogers tells Bustle. “Or if your partner is against you having a social media account or won’t friend/follow your account, something is probably up as well.” You need to be able to live your life. “Seeing how your partner reacts to your social media behavior is a good indicator of how controlling they’ll be in real life,” she says.
11. You Have To Give Detailed Accounts Of Your Whereabouts
If your partner constantly questions your whereabouts, it’s a sign your partner is jealous in an unhealthy way, Stefanie Safran, Chicago’s “Introductionista” and founder of Stef and the City, tells Bustle. When your partner demands that you always explain where you have been — even if it’s work — this can be a sign of unhealthy jealousy, she says.
Once again, for the cheap seats: Under all circumstances, you need to be able to live your life.
Images: Fotolia; Giphy (11)
7 Tips for Overcoming Jealousy in Relationships
“7 Tips for Overcoming Jealousy in Relationships” courtesy of Ρanayotis
“It is not love that is blind, but jealousy.”
“He’s so jealous, I have to face the wall in restaurants!”
Kevin sat beside her, rather meekly.
“Mark, can you please make him understand that I love him,” Katherine continued. “I don’t want anybody else. But his insane jealousy is going to tear us apart unless something changes.”
Kevin admitted that when they went out in public, he would insist she sit toward a wall so that she couldn’t see (or be seen by) other potential attractive mates. If he caught her chatting or joking with male neighbours or colleagues, he would assume right off she was having an affair. She had stopped seeing a really good male friend she’d known since childhood and he’d “banned” her from chatting to a 70-year-old married man who lived next door. This was maddening.
His jealousy was all-encompassing; from attractive male movie stars to male teachers of her young children. At first (before realizing how destructive it was to become), she’d been flattered by the intensity of his jealous attentions – after all, it showed he cared, right? But the constant anxiety, loss of her freedom, and sheer clinginess (he would text every half-hour if she went out with a girlfriend) were now torture to her and also to him.
Most people feel a little jealous sometimes, especially when they have strong feelings of attraction and love for their partner, and a little jealousy occasionally can add zest to a relationship. But just as a spark can illuminate a room, a blaze can burn it to the ground. So what’s behind jealousy?
What does jealousy in a relationship mean?
At the root of jealousy lies fear of loss. Like many jealous partners, Kevin feared loss of their relationship, loss of self-respect, even loss of ‘face’ fearing how his friends would see him if he were to be ‘made a fool of’. Fear makes for feelings of insecurity.
When fear lessens, so does jealousy. More than feelings of fear, jealousy also leads to a smorgasbord of other emotions such as anger, hate of love ‘rivals’, disgust (sometimes self-disgust), and hopelessness.
So why might a person be jealous? Kevin’s ex-wife had cheated on him and he felt he’d never got over this. ‘Once bitten, twice shy’, he was now creating imaginary threats. We’re told it’s great to have ‘a good imagination’, but he was using his to torment himself.
Of course, if your partner is continually sexually active with other people, then jealousy is totally justified. And perhaps the whole relationship needs to be re-evaluated.
But here I want to focus on helping you if you feel unduly jealous (that’s to say, there is no real or proper evidence that your partner is or has been unfaithful to you). These tips also focus on sexual jealousy rather than, say, being jealous of the amount of time your partner spends with their mother or kids.
So how can we start to break the jealousy cycle, reclaim self-control, and stop driving our partners and ourselves crazy?
1) It may sound trite, but how about you believe your partner?
Yes, take them at their word. If they do lie to you, then they are not making a fool out of anyone but themselves – remember that. It’s been said that trust is the cornerstone of any relationship. It’s very insulting for your partner to have you always doubting their word or decency of behaviour. Constant questioning by you can even be as destructive as having an affair in the long run.
You’ll still distrust your partner for a while (out of sheer habit), but find the strength to start acting as if you believe them. If you’ve been checking that they really were where they said they’ve been, then stop doing that. When they tell you they love you, believe them.
2) Easier said than done, but stop comparing yourself to others
Some (not all) jealousy is driven by low self-esteem. “How could they love me? I don’t understand how someone like them could be attracted to someone like me!” We none of us are supposed to understand exactly why someone loves us. Does the Mona Lisa painting know why it is so valuable? Of course, you may be able to appreciate attractive qualities in yourself, but consider this:
There are better looking, richer, funnier, smarter, younger people around than just about all of us, but these are qualities of a ‘product’. If he or she loves you, it will be because of an extra, indefinable quality you have that they couldn’t even explain – some deep part of your humanity they connected to which transcends looks, youth, wealth, and so forth. Some of the most loved people in history have been well down the list when it comes to looks or wealth. Stop trying to ‘work out’ why they can possibly like you.
3) It might be a terrible thought, but be prepared to lose them
I said that not all jealousy is driven by low self-esteem; and that’s right. People with quite high self-esteem can experience intense jealousy if they tend to feel they themselves must always be the centre of things. People like this tend to look at other people as material property. And maybe they just don’t want to share that ‘property’, even as far as letting their partner innocently smile or socialize with another person. Perhaps as a kid they were a little spoilt.
But people are not objects or toys to be constantly guarded. To love someone properly, we need to be prepared to lose them. What? Am I mad? Sounds like it, you might think (and I do have my moments), but hear me out.
Anger, fear, and jealousy drive out love; and love needs a strong dash of fearlessness to flourish. Okay, so you fear losing your loved one to someone else (and possibly fear how this will make you feel about yourself). If you must keep using your imagination, use it to imagine the ‘worst’ happening and you still being okay; not just surviving, but thriving in this imagined scenario.
Fantasize about how well you’d react, how whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Write down 10 positive ways you’d like to respond and how you’d build your life up even better if this relationship were to end. Fear is much greater when we feel that ‘all our eggs are in one basket’. Don’t build your whole life around any one person. “How can I live without you?” is too daunting – really imagine how you would, if you had to, live without this person.
But don’t leave this list lying around to be found by your partner, as this may start them feeling insecure. :-/
4) Don’t – just don’t – play games
Jealousy is excruciatingly uncomfortable. People sometimes try to make themselves feel better by trying to get their partner jealous. Don’t do this. Flirting with other men or women all the time in front of your partner; constantly saying how attractive, fun, and witty someone you work with is; and going out of your way to talk about past lovers just demeans you and won’t make either of you feel better in the long run.
This isn’t to say you have to pretend that no other attractive people exist in the world, but you can acknowledge this without using it as relationship ammunition. If your partner is ever unfaithful to you, that is a reflection of them, not you; and if this were to occur, it’s better that they don’t have the ‘ammo’ to turn around and say: “Well, you were always talking about…” or “Can you blame me? Because you were always flirting outrageously with the auto repair man (girl who works in the bar)…” Keep your dignity long-term and ditch the game playing.
5) Stop confusing make-believe with reality
Jealousy, like many psychological problems (from hypochondria to paranoia), is driven by the destructive use of the imagination. The imagination is great…if you use it for your own benefit, not if it messes with your mind. Stephen King has a stellar career from making stuff up and writing about it. But he distances himself (thankfully for him!) from stuff he creates in his head. He doesn’t believe everything he writes is real just because he imagined it. Right now, I can imagine an alien invasion headed right towards Earth. I can vividly ‘see’ the pesky aliens about to land the mother ship in my local park, but I don’t believe it.
Stop trusting your imagination so much. Think about it:
- Your partner is home later than you thought they were going to be.
- You start to imagine them having an intimate drink with that handsome guy you saw working in her office or that luscious sister of his new gym partner you happened to see one time.
- You become angry, upset, frightened – without having any evidence that what you imagined is real.
- They come home and you react ‘weirdly’ by being very cold or you have an outburst of anger toward them.
- They become defensive and angry back in turn.
I recall seeing a YouTube video of a dog becoming very angry – with its own leg. The more its leg moved, the angrier it got with it – not realizing that it, the dog, was moving the leg. We laugh when we see a dog do this, but psychologically people do a variation of this all the time.
When you stop getting emotional just because you’ve imagined something, you’ll take a hefty step toward regaining control of that jealousy.
6) Lengthen the leash
Okay, since we’re talking canines, here’s another dog reference. Start relaxing with lengthening the ‘leash’. If your partner wants to spend the weekend with his or her friends, let them. Keeping them ‘imprisoned’ will only build their desire to escape your possessiveness. Let them have their freedom (and no, this is not the same as letting them walk all over you). If you are out with them, let them chat to their attractive colleague (bearing in mind that they may not find their colleague as attractive as you imagine). If you suspect your partner is trying to make you jealous, then short circuit this by relaxing about it; but how?
7) Use your imagination to make you feel better, not worse
Try this exercise:
Close your eyes and relax. Now think about the type of scenario that makes you the most jealous. Is it knowing your partner is out and you imagining them with someone else? Is it seeing them talking and laughing with someone else?
Now, breathing deeply and focusing on relaxing different parts of your body in turn, just imagine seeing yourself looking calm, relaxed, even disinterested in that type of situation. Because ultimately in life we only have ourselves to answer to, and you can only truly control yourself. Visualize your partner doing all the things that made you feel jealous and see yourself not responding with jealousy, but rather with calm detachment. The more you can do this, the less jealousy will be able to mess with you.
It might sound strange to say that jealousy is more about self-love than real love for another person, but jealousy does make us focus more on our own feelings than the feelings of the other person. Overcoming jealousy isn’t about making your partner face the wall in restaurants or trying to prevent them ever looking at anyone else; it has to be about you managing your own emotions.
I worked with Kevin hypnotically; worked with his traumatic memories of having been cheated on by someone who wasn’t Katherine and, bit by bit, got him to lengthen the leash. Now, I’m happy to say, his beautiful fiancée sits with her back to the wall at restaurants because, as Kevin says: “Why deny other men the chance to admire a beautiful face.”
Do you think you’re driving your partner away but can’t seem to stop?
Try our Overcoming Jealousy audio session here.
Overcoming jealousy is like changing any emotional reaction or behavior. It begins with awareness. Awareness allows you to see that the projected stories in your mind are not true. When you have this clarity you no longer react to the scenarios that your mind imagines. Jealousy and anger are emotional reactions to believing scenarios in your mind that are not true. By changing what you believe you change what your imagination is projecting and you can eliminate these destructive emotional reactions. Even when there is justification for the reaction, jealousy and anger are not beneficial ways to deal with the situation and get what we want.Trying to change anger or jealousy once you are in the emotion is like trying to control a car skidding on ice. Your ability to handle the situation is greatly improved if you can steer clear of the hazard before we get there. This means addressing the beliefs that trigger jealousy instead of attempting to control your emotions.
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To permanently dissolve the emotions such as anger and jealousy in relationships means changing the core beliefs of insecurity and mental projections of what your partner is doing.
The steps to permanently end jealous reactions are:
- Recovering personal power so that you can get control of your emotions and refrain from the reactive behavior.
- Shift your point of view so that you can step back from the story in your mind. This will give you a gap of time in which to refrain from a jealous or angry reaction and do something else.
- Identify the core beliefs that trigger the emotional reaction.
- Become aware that the beliefs in your mind are not true. This is different than “knowing” intellectually that the stories are not true.
- Develop control over your attention so you can consciously choose what story plays in your mind and what emotions you feel.
There are a number of elements that create the dynamic of jealousy. As such, effective solutions will have to address multiple elements of beliefs, point of view, emotions, and personal will power. If you miss one or more of these elements you leave the door open for those destructive emotions and behaviors to return.
By practicing a few simple exercises you can step back from the story your mind is projecting and refrain from the emotional reaction. If you really have the desire to change your emotions and behavior you can do it. It just takes the willingness to learn effective skills. You will find effective exercises and practices to overcoming the emotional reaction of jealousy in the Self Mastery Courses. The first few sessions are free.
Principle triggers of jealousy are beliefs that create feelings of insecurity
Feelings of low self esteem are based in beliefs we have in a mental image of who we are. In order to eliminate the insecurity and low self esteem we don’t have to change, we just have to change our belief in the false self image. While some people assume this may be hard, it is only challenging because most people have not learned the skills necessary to change a belief. Once you practice the skills you find that changing a belief takes very little effort. You just stop believing the story in your mind. It takes more effort to believe something than it does to not believe it.
Self judgment can amplify the feeling of insecurity
It is not enough to “know” intellectually that we are creating the emotion. With only this information the Inner Judge is likely to abuse us with criticism for what we are doing. The Inner Judge might use this information to take us on an emotional downward spiral to further insecurity. For real lasting change you will need develop skills to dissolve the beliefs and false self images and gain control of what your mind projects. The practices and skills are available in the audio sessions. Session 1 and 2 are free sessions and should lend insight into how the mind works to create emotions. Session 1 and 2 also give you excellent exercises to recover some personal power and begin shifting your emotions.
One of the steps to changing a behavior is to see how we actually create the emotion of anger or jealousy from the images, beliefs, and assumptions, in our mind. This step not only allows us to take responsibility, but taking responsibility for our emotions also puts us in a position of power to change them.
If you are in a relationship with a jealous partner, and they want you to change your behavior to prevent the jealousy then they are not taking responsibility. If they say things like “If you wouldn’t _____ then I wouldn’t react this way.” That type of language flags an attitude of powerlessness and an attempt to control your behavior with a deal.
How the mind creates the emotions of jealousy and anger
I’ve outlined the dynamics of jealousy and anger in the explanation below. If you are seeking to overcome jealousy it is likely that you already know the dynamics that I describe. This description may help fill in some gaps of how the mind twists knowledge into self judgment and reinforces low self esteem and insecurity. This intellectual understanding can help develop awareness to see these dynamics in the moment you are doing them. But to really make effective changes you will need a different skill set. Knowing how you create your emotional reactions doesn’t give you enough information about how to change them. Just like knowing you got a flat tire because you ran over a nail doesn’t mean you know how to patch the tire.
For the illustration I’ll use a man as the jealous partner. I refer to various images in the mind and you can use the diagram below for reference, or see the Relationship Matrix page for a more detailed description of these images.
It starts with a man feeling insecure about himself. Insecurity comes from his False Hidden Image of being “not good enough”. With the belief that this false image is him, rather than an image in his mind, the man creates self rejection in his mind. The emotional result of self rejection is a feeling of unworthiness, insecurity, fear, and unhappiness.
Compensating for insecurity
In order to overcome the emotion generated from his Hidden False Image, he focuses on his perceived positive qualities. From these qualities the man creates a more positive False Image of himself. I call this the Projected Image because this is how he wants to be seen. The emotional result of a positive self image is no self rejection and no feeling of unworthiness. There is greater acceptance for himself, therefore he creates more love and happiness. Notice that he has not changed, he is just holding on to a different image in his mind depending on the moment.
The Hidden Image beliefs become the triggers of unhappiness while the Projected Image triggers more pleasant emotions. It is important to note that both images are false. Both images are in the man’s mind and neither one is really him. He is the one that is creating and reacting to the images in his imagination. He is not an image in his imagination.
The man’s mind associates the Projected Image with qualities women are attracted to. Often the qualities are considered positive as a result of the assumption that women are attracted to them. When the man gets attention from a woman he associates himself with the Projected Image rather than the “Not Good Enough” image. The strengthened belief in the Projected Image results in more self acceptance, love, and happiness in his emotional state.
It is the man’s action of acceptance and love that changes his emotional state. It is not the image, or the woman’s attention that change his emotion. These are only triggers that activate the man’s mind towards certain beliefs, self acceptance, and love.
The man’s mind often makes the false assumption that “she makes him happy” or that he “needs” her to be happy. It only appears this way because he is noticing the woman’s relationship to his emotional state. Often the man doesn’t realize that she is just an emotional trigger for his mind to express love. He may not have formed other triggers for expressing his own acceptance and love so he is dependent on a woman for a trigger. When the man recognizes that she is only a trigger and his role of expressing acceptance and love is what changes his emotional state, then the man doesn’t “need” his partner in order to be happy.
The man’s conflicting False Images might look like this in his mind.
The man is operating from the false belief that he is happier because of a woman’s attention and love. When he imagines that her attention is on someone or something other than himself, he reacts with fear. The majority of the fear is not about losing the woman as he might falsely believe. The majority of the fear is about avoiding the emotional pain he creates in his mind with the Hidden Image.
Without her attention, his Hidden Image beliefs become active. His point of view about himself also moves into perceiving from this “not good enough” state. His emotion of unworthiness and unhappiness follows his paradigm of beliefs and point of view.
The man attempts to get and control the woman’s attention so that the Projected Image beliefs are active. He works to “activate” her “trigger” to support his Projected Image beliefs. It is the mechanism he knows for avoiding his emotionally unpleasant Hidden Image beliefs. He is not aware that it is the expression of love and acceptance that is the means to change his emotional state.
Anger and punishment to control behavior
One of the mechanisms we learn early in life is to control other people’s attention and behavior through the emotion of anger. When we were punished as children, anger often accompanied that punishment. Sometimes just harsh words were enough to get us to change a behavior. At a very minimum when someone was angry at us, it got our attention. In this way we learned early in life to use anger as a means to control other people’s attention, and as a punishment to control behavior. As we got older we didn’t necessarily unlearn this pattern.
The jealous man uses anger towards his partner in order to get and control her attention. Anger also works as a punishment with the result of inflicting emotional pain on the woman. By punishing the woman with anger the woman may change her behavior in order to avoid emotional punishment in the future.
The man’s use of anger may not be his preferred choice. But his behavior of anger is the result of a false belief paradigm. The man may “know” differently at the level of his intellect, but his behavior is based in the false beliefs and Hidden Image that push his emotions.
The actual result of controlling anger
With his anger the man gets the opposite result that he was conditioned to get as a child. An adult generally has more power to resist the punishment of anger than does a child. The woman will withdraw from him because of her tendency to avoid the emotionally unpleasant. Her withdrawal will then activate his Hidden Image beliefs that he was working to avoid. The man’s belief-emotion cycle returns to the beginning. This is emotionally painful.
The analysis after the incident
After a jealousy and anger incident, there is an opportunity to look at and analyze the events. For the jealous man, this time can often be more painful emotionally. This is when his self judgment can be at its worst.
The man plays over in his mind the behavior of anger and control. However, now it is reviewed from the view point of the Inner Judge in his mind. The Inner Judge does the analysis and condemns him. The Inner Judge specifically holds up the Projected Image and then points out that “he failed” to live up to that standard. Based on the Projected Image standard he can only conclude he is a failure and not good enough. .
The anger incident, when viewed by the Inner Judge is “evidence” that he is actually the person that fits the Hidden Image description. Accepting and believing this judgment, results in the man feeling unworthy, guilt, and shame. The belief, emotion, and point of view of the Hidden Image character is reinforced
The Inner Judge does not give the man a fair trial. It is a hanging Judge. The Inner judge does not assess the role of the Belief System, False Images, or the Point of View. The man is at the mercy of forces in his mind that he has not been trained to see and deal with. With awareness of these forces and some specific practice he can begin to get control over his emotional state.
Efforts to change behavior don’t seem to work
The principle problem in the analysis is that the man studies the events from the point of view of judgment. Judgment adds to the rejection. It also operates to reinforce the belief in the standard of Perfection. This point of view reinforces the Hidden Image, and the Projected Image beliefs which are part of the core cause. The very part of our mind that is doing the analysis is actually reinforcing the core causes.
The man is looking for a solution, and in this paradigm of unworthiness, the solution looks like he should become the “Projected Image.” If he can become the confident, strong, kind, and loving person he “knows” he is, then he will like himself and the woman will love him and everything will be fine. He does not see that the Projected Image is formed in his imagination.
There are other problems with this approach
- The man’s belief that he is the Projected Image is undermined by his belief that he is not “good enough.” The Hidden Image beliefs create the feeling of unworthiness. Being perfect may compensate at times, but the feeling of unworthiness will seep through until the Hidden image is dealt with.
- Even when the man pulls off being the perfect Projected Image, the Hidden Image beliefs will have part of him feeling like a fraud. According to the Hidden image beliefs he is not really “Perfect” and he is not “Worthy.” He will feel inauthentic because of these conflicting beliefs. The feeling of being a fraud often happens when his successes are being praised by others. The more success and recognition he receives that fits the Projected Image, the more pronounced the Hidden Image push up doubts in his mind.He can not be in Emotional Integrity as long as he associates his identity with one or more conflicting images in his mind.
- The man’s efforts at controlling his emotion will have him continually on guard against an outburst of jealousy and anger. This “on guard” feeling is born out of fear that at any moment he may fall and emotion will overtake his attention. This feeling of fear not only wears on a person, but represses emotion and doesn’t allow for feeling authentic Love and Happiness.
- Building strong positive beliefs and a positive self image can help to diminish the reaction side, but to a limited extent. It is a patch that can help for some but still bases identity in a false image and not in authenticity and integrity. It does not do anything to address the emotions that come from the Hidden Images or beliefs of unworthiness that are at the core of the behavior. These often become buried in the sub-conscious and resurface later during times of stress when they are most destructive, and we are least able to deal with them.
Emotion and false beliefs drive the behavior
When one looks at the behavior of jealousy and anger as a means to control and keep someone, the behavior doesn’t make sense. Anger and jealousy will not endear someone to be closer to us. The man in the situation can often look at his own behavior and see that it doesn’t make sense. He can see the woman withdraw from him as a result of his behavior. Yet seeing the result and knowing this intellectually does not change the dynamics of his behavior. Why?
His behavior is not driven by thinking, logic or intellectual knowing. Therefore it can not be changed by these modalities. It is driven by Beliefs, False Images, Point of View, and Emotion. If we are to change our behavior, we must address these fundamental elements in a manner different than plain intellect and logic. Why use an approach different than intellect and logic? The Inner Judge will use intellect and logic to create judgments and reinforce the existing false beliefs.
A Path with results
Changing beliefs, emotional reactions, and destructive behaviors is through mastering your point of view, attention, and dissolving the false beliefs in your mind. When you learn to shift your Point of View you can literally move your self out of a Belief and out of an emotion. From a new point of view you will have the awareness to see the faulty logic of the beliefs behind the behavior. With the awareness of the false beliefs behind your actions you will be able to refrain from destructive behavior. Eliminating the false beliefs eliminates the triggers of your emotions. It is the elimination of the false beliefs that will dissolve the fear.
If you have enough desire to change a jealous and angry behavior you will eventually have to do more than study the problem. You will have to take action. I suggest beginning with the free audio sessions. Listen to the information and practice the exercises for a few days each and see what you learn. You can sign up for free. No credit card information is necessary.
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